Facebook Video Ad Tools Hold Promise for Targeted Views

New features come on the heels of major agency deal

Facebook video spots are getting new interactive components meant to drive more views for brands. The announcement coincided neatly with the social network’s ad deal with Starcom MeidaVest Group last month, which committed the agency and its brands to hundreds of millions in spending over the next few years—a deal that had a large video-buying component and opened early looks at the latest Facebook products. 

Now, brands can create standard video ads—not to be confused with Facebook's premium auto-play spots—with a “video views” option, which is designed to show commercials to the users most likely to watch them. Brands can target consumers who have watched their content before, and the features appear to aimed at marketers who don't have Fortune 500 budgets.

“Ads can be created for those specific people, helping to move them from awareness to affinity and consideration,” Facebook said in a blog post today.

Also, the videos could include a call-to-action such as a link to more content on a brand’s website.

“A second way advertisers can encourage people to engage more deeply with their brand and products is by adding a call-to-action inviting people to learn more and visit a destination of their choice, like a specific page on a website, after viewing the video,” Facebook said.

The video services expand upon Facebook’s autoplay premium video ads program and the campaign measurement tools it provides.

Digital video is a fast-growing portion of the online ad industry, and likely to account for $6 billion in spending this year, according to eMarketer.

In its blog post, Facebook compared its video reach to traditional broadcast TV, saying it offers brands predictable audience sizes and control over how many times their commercials could run.

“We are excited by the capability to precisely align Facebook media delivery with the reach and frequency levels that deliver business results for our clients,” said Kevin Lange, Starcom MediaVest Group’s svp of social media, in the statement. “We look forward to continued partnership with Facebook to make buying easier and more effective; reach-based planning is an important piece of this.”

Just yesterday, Google announced a premium programmatic platform to serve ads from brands to select publishing partners. Omnicom Media Group was among the early participants on stage for the launch at the DoubleClick customer conference.

Twitter also is serving an increased number of video ads from more brands. On the iPhone, Twitter now includes links in videos that direct users to more content.